Love Came Down at Christmas
By David Brandt Berg
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For many people, Christmas is the biggest holiday of the year—a time when they don’t have to go to work or to school and are able to take their Christmas vacation. But for other people, Christmas is a lot of work. It’s often a very busy and hurried time of rushing around from store to store and shop to shop, competing with multitudes of other shoppers who are madly trying to buy gifts for all of their relatives, friends, and acquaintances.
Often, Christmas Day itself gets sort of lost in the days and weeks surrounding it. In fact, many Christmas cards and decorations simply state “Season’s Greetings,” with no mention of Christmas at all. Christmas trees, decorative and colorful lights, mistletoe, boughs of holly, snowmen, jingle bells, candy canes, etc., are all a part of this festive “holiday season.” Then there is the story that many parents tell their young children about a jolly old man with a long white beard named Santa Claus, who supposedly flies through the sky in his gift-laden sleigh which is pulled by flying reindeer! So of course, these young children look forward to Christmas as the time when Santa will come to town and hopefully give them the new toys, gifts, and candy they want.
It seems that the true meaning of Christmas can be almost forgotten and eliminated entirely in all the holiday trappings that surround it. But there’s so much more to Christmas than trees and decorations and Santa Claus and presents and all the materialism associated with it! If these distractions, which threaten to drown out and bury the true meaning and spirit of Christmas, are brushed aside, then the real beauty and wonder of Christmas can be discovered. For Christmas is a celebration of the day that God sent His love into the world in the form of a tiny, weak, and helpless baby 2,000 years ago.
Jesus was born to a simple, humble teenage girl who miraculously conceived, having never slept with any man. In fact, the news of her pregnancy was so shocking that when the man whom she was going to marry learned about it, he promptly decided to break the engagement and call off the wedding! Until a powerful heavenly being intervened and convinced him to stay with her and rear and protect this very special child that she was carrying.
Although the child was ordained to be a king—in fact the King of kings—He was not born in a plush palace with famous and glorious members of the court in attendance and the honor and praise of the world. Instead, He was born on the dirty floor of a barn, amidst the cattle and the asses, wrapped in rags and laid to rest in the animal’s feed trough.
And though His birth brought no great fanfare or official recognition from the institutions and governments of man, that night on a nearby hillside, a motley crew of poor shepherds were awestruck as a brilliant light burst upon them from the starry sky and a host of angels filled the night with their heavenly declaration and song: “Glory to God in the highest! Peace on earth to men of good will! For unto you this day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord.”1
Far away in the East, another herald appeared in the heavens: A bright new star caught the attention of certain astrologers who understood its significance and followed it, crossing thousands of miles of desert, as it led them to the exact location of the young child in the little town of Bethlehem, where they honored Him with their gifts.
His earthly father was a carpenter, a humble hewer of wood with whom He lived and labored, conforming to our human ways of life, custom, language and living, that He might understand and love us better. He saw mankind’s suffering and had great compassion, longing to not only heal their sick and broken bodies, but also to save their souls, their immortal spirits.
When He began His life’s work, He went about everywhere doing good—helping people, loving children, healing heartaches, strengthening tired bodies, saving all whom He could. He not only preached His message, but He lived it among them as one of them. He not only ministered to their spiritual needs, but He spent a great deal of time ministering to their physical and material needs, miraculously healing them when they were sick, feeding them when they were hungry, and sharing His life and His love.
He didn’t preach any complicated ceremonies or difficult religious rules. He preached truth and love and showed love, as He tried to lead God’s children into the kingdom of God, whose laws are to “love the Lord with all thy heart” and “love thy neighbor as thyself.”2 He made Himself of no reputation, but was a friend of sinners and the outcasts and downtrodden of society.
As His message of love spread and His followers multiplied, the established religion and its jealous leaders realized what a threat this formerly unknown carpenter had become to them. They finally had Him arrested and brought to trial on false charges of sedition and subversion. Although the governor found Jesus innocent, he was pressured and persuaded by these powerful religionists to execute Him. But three days after His lifeless body was laid to rest in a cold tomb, He rose from the dead, the victor over death and hell forever!
This man, Jesus Christ, is not merely a prophet, philosopher, teacher, rabbi, or guru. He is the Son of God. God, the great Creator of the universe, is a Spirit and is all-powerful, all-knowing, everywhere and in everything—far beyond our limited human comprehension! So He sent Jesus in the form of a man, to show us what He is like and to bring us to Him. Although many great teachers have spoken and taught about love and about God, Jesus is love and He is God. He is the only one who died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead! He’s in a class all by Himself, because He’s the only Savior. He said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.”3
Would you like to find out and know beyond a shadow of a doubt if Jesus Christ really is the Son of God, the way of salvation? You can! All you have to do is try Him. Simply humble yourself and sincerely pray and ask Him to come into your heart, forgive you for all your sins, and fill your life with His love and peace.
He’s real and He loves you! So much so that He died in your place and suffered for your sins so that you wouldn’t have to, if you’ll just receive Him and His free gift of eternal life. The Bible says, “God so loved the world (you and me), that He gave His only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life!”4
He is the original Christmas gift, God’s gift of love to the world. He can turn an empty “Merry Xmas” into a truly joyous Christmas, and “Happy New Year” wishes into happy new life realities! So love and live for Him now. Then you can enjoy Him and heaven forever! God bless you and make you a blessing with His love.
Originally published 1986. Adapted and republished December 2014.
Read by Jon Marc.